When chef Leandra Forman wanted to source some fresh seafood for a special Meh Rong Korean dinner, she didn’t have to go far: The fish were in the room next door to her FoodChain kitchen.
Tucked into the heart of an old bread factory in Lexington is a synergistic miracle of farming: Kentucky’s largest aquaponic production facility.
Actually, FoodChain might be the only indoor aquaponic facility in the state, said director Becca Self. The operation raises tilapia in tanks and hydroponic lettuces and other greens.
The fish, which is harvested right before it is used, goes to Smithtown Seafood, which also is next door.
The fish aren’t the only product at the FoodChain farm. In fact they aren’t even the biggest crop. That would be greens.
FoodChain grows beds of leaf lettuce, romaine, arugula, kale, basil and microgreens fertilized by the waste from the fishtanks.
Lettuce grown this way just tastes better, maintains FoodChain farm manager Kaitlyn Dykstra. “Even better than just hydroponic lettuce. It just has more flavor.”